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Latest Phoenix mission Stories

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2008-10-30 09:55:00

NASA'S Phoenix Mars Lander entered safe mode late yesterday in response to a low-power fault brought on by deteriorating weather conditions. While engineers anticipated that a fault could occur due to the diminishing power supply, the lander also unexpectedly switched to the "B" side of its redundant electronics and shut down one of its two batteries. During safe mode, the lander stops non-critical activities and awaits further instructions from the mission team. Within hours of receiving...

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2008-06-28 11:45:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander scraped to icy soil in the "Wonderland" area on Thursday, June 26, confirming that surface soil, subsurface soil and icy soil can be sampled at a single trench. Phoenix scientists are now assured they have a complete soil-layer profile in Wonderland's "Snow White" extended trench. By rasping to icy soil, the robotic arm on Phoenix proved it could flatten the layer where soil meets ice, exposing the icy flat surface below the soil. Scientists can now proceed with...

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2008-06-23 17:25:00

A team of scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom has developed a technique using ultraviolet light to identify organic matter in soils that they say could be used to document the existence of life on Mars. The researchers' proposed instrumentation could operate on any Mars lander or rover, they say, such as the current Phoenix mission or NASA's Mars Science Laboratory scheduled for launch in 2009 "“ both of which are looking at habitability "“ or the European...

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2008-06-20 17:45:00

Scientists rejoiced on Friday after learning NASA's Phoenix Lander dug up underground ice on the plains surrounding the North Pole of Mars, but said they have more to accomplish before the summer ends. Using mini chemistry labs on the spacecraft, they hope to determine whether the frozen water excavated with the lander's robot arm, as well as nearby soil, contains the chemical building blocks of life. Peter Smith, the University of Arizona researcher who leads the Phoenix mission's science...

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2008-05-29 15:15:00

TUCSON, Ariz. - NASA's Mars lander is returning more detailed images from the Martian surface and is now preparing its instruments for science operations. Phoenix transmitted a 360-degree panorama of its frigid Martian world, freed its nearly 8-foot robotic arm, tested a laser instrument for studying dust and clouds, and transmitted its second weather report on Wednesday evening. "We've imaged the entire landing site, all 360 degrees of it. We see it all," said Phoenix principal...

2008-05-25 15:39:41

This story was updated at 5:46 p.m. EDT. PASADENA, Calif. – Excitement and nerves are both running high among NASA scientists as they prepare for the Phoenix Mars Lander's planned Sunday arrival at the red planet, mission scientists said today. The spacecraft is still in good shape and on track as it nears the finish line of its 422 million-mile (679 million km) trek to the Martian arctic. "Well this is exciting, a very exciting day," said Doug McCuistion, director...

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2008-05-26 08:25:00

A NASA spacecraft today sent pictures showing itself in good condition after making the first successful landing in a polar region of Mars. The images from NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander also provided a glimpse of the flat valley floor expected to have water-rich permafrost within reach of the lander's robotic arm. The landing ends a 422-million-mile journey from Earth and begins a three-month mission that will use instruments to taste and sniff the northern polar site's soil and ice. "We see...

2008-05-22 04:30:00

Science What advantages does the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) have over the Viking mission's Gas Chromatograph in detecting organics? The Phoenix mission has two advantages over the Viking mission with respect to organics. The first is that Phoenix is slowly heating the sample to 1000 C, whereas Viking heated very quickly to 500 C. There are many organics thought to be possibly stable on Mars that vaporize in the 700 C to 800 C range. These types of organics are often call...

2008-05-22 04:30:00

Peter Smith of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory heads the Phoenix Mission, where hundreds of dedicated individuals from around the world are teaming together to explore the arctic plains of Mars. Peter Smith is supported by talented science, project management and payload management teams with a wealth of experience in Mars exploration. Science Team Principal Investigator Peter Smith is supported by a science team with experience in all previous landed Mars missions....

2008-05-22 04:20:00

The Story The phoenix, a fabulous mythical bird the size of an eagle, symbolizes rebirth in many ancient cultures. According to the ancient Greeks, the bird lives in Arabia, nearby a cool well and sings a beautiful morning song. The phoenix lives 500 years or longer with only one phoenix existing at a time. When the bird's death approaches, it bursts into flames, and a new bird springs from the consumed pyre. Similar to its namesake, the Phoenix Mission "raises from the ashes" a spacecraft...


Word of the Day
tesla
  • The unit of magnetic flux density in the International System of Units, equal to the magnitude of the magnetic field vector necessary to produce a force of one newton on a charge of one coulomb moving perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field vector with a velocity of one meter per second. It is equivalent to one weber per square meter.
This word is named for Nikola Tesla, the inventor, engineer, and futurist.